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The Mental Health Professional in Court

A Survival Guide

Thomas G. Gutheil, M.D., and Eric Y. Drogin, J.D., Ph.D.

  • ISBN 978-1-58562-438-6
  • Item #62438

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A successor to the popular The Psychiatrist in Court: A Survival Guide, The Mental Health Professional in Court has expanded the scope of the earlier book to include other professionals in the field. The authors have thoroughly updated the text, and provided a comprehensive coverage of legal processes. This book equips the mental health professional with a hands-on, practical working knowledge of what to expect—and how to survive—in the courtroom and the legal system.

The book includes many helpful features:

  • An informal, user-friendly writing style that is accessible, reassuring, and empowering, and a succinct presentation that helps the reader achieve mastery of the material quickly and efficiently—a boon when prepping for a court appearance
  • A practical, rather than theoretical, approach to issues, with examples from literally hundreds of actual cases and countless consultations with peers and colleagues on how to deal with the legal system
  • A thorough understanding of the book's audience. Because the authors understand that most mental health professionals' knowledge about going to court comes from television and movies, the book addresses the many deeply embedded misperceptions and distortions perpetuated by the media, taking the reader from rudimentary information about the legal system to more sophisticated topics, such as the different approaches to testifying.
  • An indispensable legal glossary keyed to the text, which enhances understanding of courtroom terminology
  • Other beneficial features, such as key points at the end of each chapter, which provide easy-to-locate summaries, and additional appendices, which outline the legal system and provide suggested readings.

No one wants to appear in court, but in some cases it may be unavoidable. Brief enough to assimilate quickly, yet comprehensive in scope, The Mental Health Professional in Court: A Survival Guide is a reassuring and eminently useful guide designed to help the witness navigate the legal system.


  • About the Authors
  • Acknowledgments
  • Preface
  • Chapter 1. Introduction: What? Me? Go to court?
  • Chapter 2. Why is this happening?
  • Chapter 3. How did I get here?: The path to litigation
  • Chapter 4. What is motivating everyone?
  • Chapter 5. Why is this taking so long?
  • Chapter 6. Now do I get my say?: Interrogatories, depositions, and how to survive them
  • Chapter 7. Where are we?: The foreign territory of the courtroom
  • Chapter 8. Who are all these people?
  • Chapter 9. Am I going to win this thing?: The trial itself
  • Chapter 10. Do I still get to have a life?: Self-care during litigation
  • Chapter 11. Where do I go from here?: The aftermath of litigation
  • Appendix I: The civil litigation process
  • Appendix II: Legal glossary
  • Appendix III: Recommended readings and online support
  • Index

About the Authors

Thomas G. Gutheil, M.D., is Professor of Psychiatry and Cofounder of the Program in Psychiatry and the Law at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center and Department of Psychiatry, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, and is current president of the International Academy of Law and Mental Health.

Eric Y. Drogin, J.D., Ph.D., currently serves on the faculties of the Harvard Medical School and the Harvard Longwood Psychiatry Residency Training Program. He is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Psychiatry & Law, and is former President of the American Board of Forensic Psychology.

As someone who owns the prior version of this work, I am pleased to see an updated and more concise edition. Much of Dr. Gutheil's writing is remarkably clear and, at times, amusing, and this book is no exception. Yet, importantly, his approach is not glib, but highly practical. Starting with receiving a subpoena and carrying readers through the process to the ultimate conclusion, this work addresses many of the questions general mental health practitioners have about the ordeal, including the importance of self-care during the litigation process. This is a welcome addition to my library.—Steven T. Herron, M.D., Doody Enterprises, Inc., March 22, 2013

The Mental Health Professional in Court is a broad guide, ideal for general orientation and preparation, especially for those with little experience in a courtroom; in-depth coverage of specialized types of courtroom cases (such as child custody battles) are left to other literature. Although [it] is tailored toward those practicing in the field, its accessible, plain-spoken advice is worthy of the highest recommendation for readers of all backgrounds.—James A. Cox, The Midwest Book Review, March 2013

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